August 22, 2018

Together (No. 17)

Acrylic on birch panel, 48" x 36"

Another one for the series, numero 17.

I've been dealing with some pretty extreme heat in my un-air-conditioned studio these days. Half of the drops on the painting are sweat.

The scene is Santa Maria Novella train station in Florence, based on a doodle I did three years ago when we lived in Florence and happened to dug up recently in a sketchpad. If you don't know the station in all its modernist-rationalist-brutalist glory, it's where you're sure to find piles of people from every corner of the globe at all hours of the day.

Many Italians told me they disliked the station because shady things happened there and it was full of tourists, but they're whack.

I could never just pass through, even when I had a train to catch. I lingered in awe at the coordinated yet chaotic movement of human and machine, the polished marble floors, the metal lettering in uniquely Italian sans serif, and the gravely voice of the arrivals and departures announcer over the PA, a sure smoker. The place conjured in me the need to buy a newspaper, for some reason. Make sense of the day. Get an espresso. Fare la bella figura.

This and other "Together" paintings can be viewed at www.ivanostocco.com.

Keep on truckin'!

August 12, 2018

Alvarado

48" x 36", mixed media on birch panel

Here's a piece I finished a few months ago but forgot to post. It's a picture of 7th and Alvarado in L.A., in the Westlake area with Skid Row in the distance, reminding us how unromantic the city can be.

The street is narrower and the buildings and figures are sketchier, more gestural than they would be in reality, but more to my aesthetic liking and part, more importantly, of my grand scheme to persuade everyone that density can be good and the North American appetite for space and sprawl is really a form of misanthropy.

Incidentally, Alvarado St. is named after the 19th-century governor of California (when California was still Mexico), Juan Bautista Alvarado. Alvarado led a coup to take Monterey, which was then the capital of both Alta and Baja California, and for a time he declared California an independent country. But Mexico quickly took the territory back, and then of course the gringos took it from Mexico. The rest is history.

You can find this and other paintings like 'er on my website, www.ivanostocco.com.

¡Que tengas un buen día!